This weeks Savvy Seven is brought to you by Alistar Richardson a.k.a Zefereli. Self built and self styled, Alistair dropped his debut studio album “All Players Played Well” in December 2017 and has since completed a co-headline tour with Sydney’s Letters to Lions. For the better part of four years, Alistar’s been building his studio and honing his skills to record, master and release this latest work. The sun-drenched psych album was received with positive reviews from Rolling Stone Aus and Triple J. So, here’s the self-built Savvy Seven from Zefereli!
1) Who was your first musical inspiration? Why? Who inspires you now?
The Beatles. As a kid we had A Hard Days Night and Help, the movies on VHS and we’d watch that after school almost every day, that or The Wiggles.
Bands like Alvvays who have the DIY approach and make excruciatingly beautiful albums leave me feeling like I did when I was a kid, I also have a lot of close friends who are truly great songwriters and musicians who always encourage and inspire me.
2) What advice do you have for someone who is about to set off on their first tour? Or their first album?
Don’t stress. A first tour is about soaking up a different location or city sharing that bond with your bandmates and being open to meeting new people. If you stress or worry about how many people are there, you’ll play like shit and you won’t make any connections with people.
Everyone is coming from a different angle in regards to an album. What ever it is you’re after, just be focused on that. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars (unless you’re a rish bish!). You don’t need anything really, you don’t even need a vision, you just need to love it. If you love it, it’ll mean a lot more when other people also love it.
3) What has been one of your most defining moments in your career?
Hmm.. I think dropping everything and starting again was a huge moment in retrospect. Recording and releasing this first Zefereli album was a real challenge, but it was 100% artistically honest and I felt like I could die happily knowing I’d made it.
4) How has your approach to your own music changed over time? (writing, recording, collaborating, etc)
I guess a product of recording yourself means, you can almost visualize how a song will end up when you start writing it, the feeling, the space or lack thereof. But honestly I think I’ve never come up with a formula for writing songs, it’s just different every time. With recording, I’ve been obsessed with preamps and compressors and new sounds and all the limitless possibilities. It’s very inspiring. I used to have no idea about anything to do with recording until two years ago and since then, I’ve really jumped in the deep end. I used to collaborate a lot when I was younger. I think in a band setting you can’t help but jam together. I largely write my music alone these days, music is like a search into my soul, I can’t help it, it’s usually in those moments of extreme emotion and I’m normally alone in those situations.
5) My top business tip for new artists is…
All the information about everything is available. You really don’t need to be taken advantage of and lose money. All your favourite local artists, despite their casual exterior, they have taken the time to learn exactly what it is they want and their vision and where their money is going.
6) My biggest career mistake has been… Has this changed how you approach the industry?
Stressing too much about how to make people like my music.
I approach it from a distance. Having someone professional represent you and deal with the industry, allowing you to focus on being creative. And then learn everything you can about it so you’re informed.
7) In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…
Depressed musicians. We worship Triple J, we idolize success over substance. I know a lot of amazing songwriters and musicians that feel like failures when they don’t get all the hype and hoopla.
What do you think can change that?
I definitely don’t have the answers for this, but I would love to carry everyone away who’s feeling down and take them out to the farm and jam and make music and enjoy it because it’s such a thrill to make it.
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